Yesterday we starting our Christmas holidays with a roadtrip from home to the Bay Area. Here is our roadtrip in numbers.
Photo Friday – 2012 Tree Trek
Over the weekend we made our annual trek to the Keith and Scott Tree Farm for our beautiful Christmas tree. This year Yaya and Papa were still in town to come with us and our friends the Yocums decided to try out a tree farm instead of a hike through the wilderness. We came home with a Turkish that looks lovely in the living room. Will couldn’t wait for the tree to get up so the Polar Express train could get put up. By Sunday evening he was in heaven with the tree and train.
As a way to round out our fabulous camping season I put together some numbers that encompass our experiences. We really enjoyed our inaugural year of camping with Boomer, the new trailer and can’t wait for next year. Planning has already begun for our first big two week trip.
What was your favorite camping number or memory from this year?
Today we are going back in the archives to revisit an old post that is still very relevant today. This was originally posted September 29, 2009.
This morning, I was watching the Today show (Hoda and Kathie Lee, not my favorite, but not much to choose from) while I was feeding Will at the gym and they were talking about happiness. One of their guests made a comment about how happy people cherish the small moments. That got me thinking about how in our busy, crazy lives we don’t notice those moments. Those moments can be as meaningful as the big planned out events.
Here are a couple of my recent cherished moments.
On Sunday mornings I change all the beds and get the laundry done. Yesterday morning we were all in our bedroom as I finished up with the beds and Jim turned on his iPod to the silly songs that Jack loves. Soon all four of us were dancing to Cotton Eyed Joe and You Dropped a Bomb on Me.
Tonight as I made dinner I looked over in the family room to see Jack and Will playing. Will was lying on the floor and Jack was dancing and singing above him to the songs that the toy plays. Will was laughing at him. (I love that little laugh.) It melted my heart.
Friday in the car on the way to Children’s the boys were laughing at each other in the back seat. I asked Jack what was funny and he said “I don’t know, Will is laughing, so I am too.”
We could learn a lot from our children and how they view the world. An empty box can become a fort or a costume. The holidays are brand new each year. Any day it may snow. A dog is a great buddy or a big pillow. Any car trip is a new adventure.
With all the things we have been through this year, I have to cherish the moments and remember them to get me through all of the tough times. Life goes by so fast and before I know it the boys will be big and not want to dance in our bedroom.
What are your recent cherished moments?
Our house is in full Olympic spirit. Despite missing the opening ceremonies due to a camping trip at the beach, we arrived home and settled into our traditional viewing spot. I was pregnant during the previous two summer Olympics with bad morning sickness, so at least I had fun things to watch while resting on the couch.
One of my favorite things about the Olympics is that sports you wouldn’t normally see and are hardly ever on TV are now news. Like judo, diving and white water kayaking, these are fun to watch and the athletes are as good as anyone. I love the equestrian, 3-day eventing and jumping. This is the sport that I dreamed of competing in at the Olympics.
The Olympics are such a good representation of sportsmanship. The athletes competing their hardest and understanding the importance of the moment and what a privilege it is to be an Olympian. Missy Franklin is a great example of this, wise beyond her very young 17 years. I also enjoy watching how the athletes support each other, attending other events and cheering on their team.
So we will enjoy every moment of the games of the 30th Olympiad and will look forward to the Winter Olympics in 2014 when the 2012 games conclude.
Are you enjoying the Olympics? What are your favorite events?
Saturday June 23rd is the Great American Backyard Campout, sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation. This would be a great way to take a baby step into camping if you haven’t taken your family camping yet. Or if you are avid campers you can take this weekend to jump into the summer camping season.
Since camping is one of our favorite family activities I thought I would share some of my favorite reasons to go camping.
1. Being outside – At home, would you spend most of the day outside? I know I probably would be stuck inside working or doing household chores. Fresh air and sunshine have a great way of lowering your blood pressure. It is great to get the whole family out and enjoying our beautiful planet.
2. Seeing beautiful parts of the country – We have a beautiful country, so diverse in topography. I love waking up and stepping outside in a new place to see the ocean or the mountains. The boys also get to learn about the different environments and natural beauty our country has to offer.
3. Spending time with friends – You really get to know people when you go camping with them — three days without washing your hair will do that. It is fun to sit and talk about random subjects that you probably wouldn’t get to at other times.
4. Watching your kids play – How often do you watch your kids play at home? I know I usually head off to get some things done. When we are camping there are only a few things I have to do, so I get to watch them play and marvel at how much energy they have.
5. Campfires, red wine & smores – What is it about campfires? Nothing goes better with campfires than red wine and smores (well maybe peanut M&Ms too). Jim is obsessed with making great fires, so we always make sure we have enough wood. At each campground he also searches for the perfect fire poker.
6. Cooking outside – You know you are a cook when you can make an entire dinner on a campfire or camp stove. We have fun planning the menu to see what creative ideas might work. I think food tastes better when eaten outside, especially breakfast.
7. Making new friends – Campgrounds tend to be friendly places. People are more likely to walk up to you and start talking about something, like your trailer or what you are making for dinner. Your neighbors can easily become new friends, especially if they have kids, because the kids tend to easily jump into games together.
8. Playing with your kids – Camping can turn adults back into kids. We ride bikes, fly kites, play board games and catch. At home we tend to just go about our days. When camping we don’t have projects to do, so we can just enjoy being a family.
9. Afternoon cocktails – Is there anything better than sitting on a beach watching the kids play while enjoying a margarita and not feeling guilty about it? There aren’t chores to do or projects to complete, so you can just enjoy life and the company you are with.
10. Laughing until your sides hurt (or you pee yourself) – Campgrounds are also really great places to people watch. All sorts of humanity goes camping. Then there are the silly things that you do or say. At least with our group those never seem to go away. Someone is always telling a funny story or making a joke. I think laughter is the best medicine, melting away our stress; that and a few cocktails.
Hopefully this summer, if you haven’t tried camping yet, you can at least take a baby step into camping and try a staycation in your backyard. It is an experience like none other.
You are supposed to spend spring break at the beach, right? Ideally, you probably want to spend it somewhere a little more tropical than our destination, the Washington and Oregon coast, but a beach is still a beach. The water on our coast this time of year is just a tad colder.
After a minor repair in Portland where we bought our new trailer, we embarked on our inaugural trip in Boomer, our 2012 Keystone Outback 250rs travel trailer, to Cape Disappointment State Park on the southern Washington Coast. The Ford Expedition pulled the trailer well, even over some steep hills. The campground was beautiful and had everything to offer, including plenty of space and hook-ups. The beach was a short walk from our site and had black sand and lots of driftwood.
We spent part of a day exploring Astoria, Oregon, and Long Beach, Washington. In Astoria we went to the Columbia River Maritime Museum, where we discovered that Will loves model ships. He stopped and looked at each one as we walked through the exhibit. We are trying to figure out a way for a three year old to enjoy model ships in a non-destructive, but interactive way, since he clearly enjoys them. We had lunch at a great microbrewery, Fort George, and even bought a growler (just love that term) to take back to the trailer. Astoria is a really cute town that has retained its small and historic feel and we will definitely go back.
Long Beach is much more of your typical beach town. One highlight was driving the car on the beach. As we drove up to park for a walk on the beach, the car in front of us kept driving right onto the beach. After reading the sign that allowed cars on the beach during a small window during the year, Jim followed him. We were a bit afraid of getting stuck so we didn’t do anything crazy. Later in the day, the boys got to drive go carts, and we bought salt water taffy and ate clam chowder. Traffic must come to a halt in the summer months in this sleepy, one-road town.
One morning at the campground we heard a helicopter flying low and looked out to see a Coast Guard helicopter flying by. Later that morning during our short hike to the Cape Disappointment lighthouse, we happened upon some Coast Guard guys up on the cliff who explained that they were running training missions all day. We got to see them lower a man out of the helicopter and pick up what we hope was a dummy and then fly away. Not something you see every day.
The second leg of our trip took us into Oregon, with lunch in Cannon Beach and camping at Nehalem Bay State Park. Nehalem Bay was also a nice campground, but the sites were closer together so it probably feels crowded in the summer. The dunes there were gorgeous and made us feel like we were on the East coast. We decided to only spend one night there and continue on to our friend’s house in Newburg and pull an “Uncle Eddie” from Christmas vacation and park the trailer in front of our friend’s house. We almost staged a photo of Jim in his bathrobe with a beer while dumping the holding tank down the sewer but we refrained.
It was the perfect way to end our week long trip just hanging out with good friends. Boomer faired very well and we are getting used to all of his wonderful amenities. Probably the most telling thing from our trip is that we all can’t wait for the next one.
Last week we spent Jack’s mid-winter break in California with all the family down there. The weather was anything but winter as a few days topped 70 degrees and not a drop of rain.
This is a school break that I don’t quite understand. Although it is nice to have the time to go on ski trips, it would be nicer to have just a long weekend (like have Thursday, Friday and Monday off) and then get out earlier in June. Compounding the already long school year is an added week of snow days in January so now we are in school until June 20th. But that is another post.
The boys had fun playing outside, riding bikes and shooting hoops. We even got a nice visit from Grandma, Grandfather and Auntie Jean who drove over from the Bay Area for the day. It was nice to soak up some vitamin D with all the sunshine, even though the vineyards need rain.
It was so cute to watch Jack with Baby Finn. He loves to sit and talk to him and make him smile. Finley is trying so hard to laugh, but it just comes out as a squeak. Jack thinks that is so funny and calls him the squeaker.
Although we all are happy to be home in our own beds and be reunited with Jim and Mulligan, we will miss everyone. The dog was so happy to see us she practically turned herself inside out when we got home. But then again, she also does that when I return home from the grocery store.
How did you spend your mid-winter break, if you got one?
I hate to clean and am more than happy to support the cleaning industry and those that make products like the Roomba (or Roomberto, as we call him). A robot that vacuums? Sign me up. My sister and I grew up having to clean every Sunday — I vacuumed and she cleaned the bathrooms. I have done enough cleaning in my life to justify a little help from the aforementioned Roomberto and our cleaning service. This week’s Monday Listicles is about what you would rather do than clean your house. Since I don’t have to clean much I thought I would write about what I do with the valuable time found that otherwise would be lost to cleaning. What would be on your list?
1. Cook – Even though I don’t mind cooking, even it sometimes becomes a chore. I make three meals a day most days for between 2-4 people. That can add up to hours a day.
2. Write – During Will’s nap time I get most of my writing/researching done. If I had to clean too, I wouldn’t get much done and my posts would take on an entirely different tone.
3. Going to the gym – Three to four mornings a week I go to the gym right after the bus stop. Scratch that off the list too if I spent more time cleaning.
4. Watch or attend sporting events – Since we would have to do some cleaning on the weekends, it would make it hard to go to watch the games. That would be a big bummer since I love sports and Jim would be forever bitter if vacuuming got in the way of Husky football.
5. Play Skylanders with Jack – He got the Skylanders adventure game for Xbox for his birthday. We play it for about 30 minutes in the evening if he has completed his homework and there is time before bed. I think I like it as much as he does.
6. Watch silly TV with Jim – After the kids go to bed we get to veg on the couch and watch mindless TV and laugh at stupid people doing stupid things.
7. Laugh at the boys – Some evenings after dinner before bed we just sit and watch the crazies while they run, jump and chase each other – our own reality show.
8. Sit outside and watch the world go by – Once the weather starts to get anywhere close to being tolerable, we head outside to our front patio, fire up the chiminia and watch the world go by.
9. Daydream about where we will go in our new trailer – I leave most of this to Jim, but it is fun to participate too.
10. Go on dates – So far this year we are holding to my goal of a date night a month. Two months, two dates.